EBT: A helping hand for students

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as EBT, partners with Long Beach State to allow students to receive a certain amount of meals a week.

This program includes those who work a few to zero hours. As a student with no source of income, it has helped me out so much.

Being a part of the SNAP program on campus has helped me have extra income to spend on food and water as well as a greater peace of mind.

I do not have to worry about all of my expenses going toward my college tuition, instead of more immediate needs like food.

With inflation occurring all over the country and as a student who lives in the dorms, I need to have enough finances for living expenses, the dining hall, books and tuition.

It’s already hard enough when I have to worry about living expenses, but now I have to worry about food, too? I am not alone on that either.

“The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, increased 0.6 percent from January 2024 to February 2024 and was up 3.2 percent from February 2023,” the USDA said in their 2024 Food Price Outlook.

One can no longer afford groceries like before. It becomes more complicated when you consider the price of laundry and medical costs that FAFSA does not assist with.

Unfortunately, as someone who just had their financial aid reduced, I need as much assistance as I can focus on my studies without worrying about an empty stomach.

However, now that I use my SNAP card at any convenience store or supermarket, I finally have the means to feed myself in between classes in case I wake up too late for breakfast.

I found the application process difficult at first since I had to wait until I was living by myself at a dorm, or I would not have qualified to apply as an independent. Once I did, I went onto the SNAP website and manually inputted all of my information.

If you work, even for the smallest dime of pay, you still need to upload proof that someone is paying you. Afterward, you complete a short interview over the phone, where you confirm that the information you submitted is accurate. They mail you your new card, should you be approved shortly after.

According to the nonprofit CalMatters, “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 127,000 California college students received CalFresh, even though anywhere from 416,471 to 689,233 students were likely eligible, according to a 2020 state report that relied on 2018-2019 data.”

That proves how many students are still in need. The only hassle I have to deal with is having to upload proof of income every month to prove that I am in dire need of assistance.

If you miss your scheduled phone interviews that are due every period, your benefits may be stopped. Luckily, phone calls usually fix the issue, but the waiting time can be long if you want to speak with a representative.

This pales in comparison to how much SNAP has helped me as it has helped many others. Intimidating application process aside, I encourage others to apply, since help is available for those who need it.

Comments are closed.

Daily 49er newsletter